Nothing in gardening is so exciting or encouraging as the lengthening days of April. It is a month of growth. After a long and dark winter, I yearn for spring and I celebrate every little sign. The vibrant fresh green of the newly emerging leaves, the blossom which is out in force this month and the vibrancy of tulips, alliums and the first bearded irises.
I realise that many moments in the garden amount to birdwatching and when I read recently Simon Barnes’s book How to be a bad birdwatcher, I realised that every gardener is a birdwatcher by default. We notice, love and probably feel ownership of them although not enough of us actively encourage and look after the birds we share our gardens with.
I adore owls and I know we have tawny owls here as I’ve heard them toowhit and keewick to each other at night. Installing an owl box is perhaps the best thing we could do to attract and help more of these fascinating birds here.
Hew has bought a beautifully designed owl box from the RSPB and with the help of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust found the perfect place for it on our big oak tree overlooking our wildflower meadow. It has been fixed facing south-east and is protected from the prevailing wind. It is the perfect place for owls to roost and nest – it has a cleaning hatch, a large landing shelf and its own fledging exercise area.
Although I understand it can take a while for owls to start to use a new box (apparently owls are very suspicious), we look forward to welcoming our first residents. I hope they find their new home a hoot.